Phoenix vs. The Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes situation has been one of the most criticized in professional sports. They lost their arena, the Desert Diamond Arena, in Glendale, last year, and announced a partnership with Arizona State to play at Mullett Arena, a venue of only 5,000 (The average across the league is 18,230 seats[1]). There have been numerous talks of moving the team year after year. And now, a lawsuit to add to all the fun.

On March 28 of this year, the City of Phoenix commenced a lawsuit against its suburban City of Tempe seeking to kill a proposal from the Arizona Coyotes organization[2]. The proposal is an attempt to build a new arena, entertainment district, and residential apartments over a 42-acre plot of land that used to be a landfill. The lawsuit argued that there was an issue with the apartments being too close in proximity to Sky Harbor Airport, which is owned by the City of Phoenix. Representatives for the airport conditionally agreed to the original proposal, but the city is actively trying to shut it down. The obvious concern that the airport voiced is that the apartments could be exposed to dangerously high noise levels due to low flying aircraft.

Last week, the Coyotes along with their development arm, Bluebird Development, commenced a countersuit against the City of Phoenix for $2.3 billion in damages for a breach of contract. Along with the countersuit, the Coyotes released a statement scolding their opposition claiming they’ve “had enough of the City of Phoenix’s bullying bureaucrats,” and that Phoenix “broke its word” and is “undermining” the Coyotes plan[3].

A separate statement was released by Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, with a similar tone. He accused the city of hypocritical practices in letting other arenas and residential housing to be built near the airport, as well as using suits like this to protect its “downtown sports venue monopoly[4]. As if the Coyotes needed any more negative press, this is sure to turn heads across the league as they seem nowhere near a solution. In the meantime, the home of the team will remain at Mullett Arena which they will continue to share with the Arizona State University Men’s Ice Hockey Team.



[3] Id.

[4] Id.

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